The pipes of your plumbing system are susceptible to freezing and bursting when temperatures drop. According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, property damages and costly water damage during the chilly weather are commonly caused by burst pipes.
The pipes located in unheated areas inside the house like the basement, attic, and garage are mostly at risk. However, even those that run through exterior walls can also freeze. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your pipes in good condition throughout winter.
Pipe insulation per linear foot cost less than an aspirin, which you would need if you don’t take care of your plumbing system. The American Red Cross and the IBHS both provided some simple tips to help you prevent frozen pipes and how to deal with them in case they do.
Beat The Freeze
When the temperature begins to drop outdoors, you need to take measures inside your house to keep your water running and the pipes warm. A study performed by the University of Illinois’ Building Research Council discovered that the temperature alert threshold is at 20° F, especially if your pipes are not insulated and run through uninsulated space as well. Although some of the recommendations provided here may not be in line with the way you use your water and heat, the extra cost will be minimal compared to how much you have to pay for the repairs of your plumbing system.
Close your garage doors and keep it that way especially if there are water lines running through it. It is also best to keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to let warmer air flow around the plumbing. In case you have kids, be sure to take away harmful cleaners and potentially dangerous household chemicals out of their reach.
You should allow the cold water to drip from the faucet that is served by exposed pipes because it can prevent the pipe from freezing. You should also keep the thermostat settings constant during the day and night. This means even if it is cold outside, it is not advisable to lower the temperature to cut costs on your heating bill. If you are looking for a long-term solution, you have to consider adding insulation to the basement, attic and crawl space. These areas will have higher temperatures if properly insulated. Don’t forget to seal openings at sill plates and around windows and doors to prevent drafts.
Thaw Frozen Pipes
If only a trickle comes out after you turn the faucet on, you can bet that you have a frozen pipe. If so, be very careful when you thaw them out because if there is already a burst pipe, then water is flowing at a certain spot in your house. In case there is a broken pipe, switch off the water at the main shutoff valve. It is usually located at the spot where the main line water enters the house or at the water meter. In case you still notice running water even if there are no signs of burst pipes, do the steps provided below. If you think you have a more complicated plumbing issue, you have to call a Myrtle Beach plumber right away.
Turn the faucet on – when you heat the frozen pipe and the ice plug starts to melt, the water should flow through without a problem. Running water, even if it is cold, through the pipe, will help melt the ice that may have built up inside it.
Apply heat to the affected part of the pipe – you can do this using an electrical heating pad that is wrapped around the pipe. You can also use an electric hair dryer or even a portable space heater. You can likewise wrap pipes using towels that have been soaked in hot water. Never use a blowtorch, charcoal stove, propane or kerosene heater, or any equipment that has an open flame. The high heat will not only damage the pipes but also start a home fire.
Apply heat until you restore full water pressure – inspect all of the other faucets in your house to determine if there are any other frozen pipes. In case one pipe is frozen, other pipes might freeze as well.
Call a licensed plumber – if you were not able to find the frozen area if the affected area is not accessible, or you cannot thaw the pipe, then you better call a plumber right away.
Call Blue Ribbon Plumbing LLC if your pipes are frozen and you need help in fixing them.
Blue Ribbon Plumbing LLC
4201 Carolina Exchange Drive Suite 202
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579